As AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon continue extending their LTE networks across the country, a new market analysis suggests that most users will eventually choose not to buy LTE iPads and other 3G/4G-enabled tablets. The report, which comes from research firm CCS Insight, says that demand for iPads and other tablets with built-in mobile broadband support will continue to drop over the next four years. Following that logic, the company says that it expects Apple and other manufacturers to reduce the number of iPads and other tablets with built-in cellular connectivity.
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Earlier this year, we reported on the plans by NetZero and FreedomPop to offer free 4G mobile broadband in the U.S. over ClearWire’s WiMax network. Both companies planned to operate on a freemium basis where users get a limited amount of data each month and can buy more if they choose.
This week, a company in the U.K. called Samba joined the free broadband bandwagon with a model that’s ad-based and freemium in nature, making it somewhat similar to NetZero’s original business model from the good old days of dial-up service.
Apple has faced some challenges already when it comes to LTE on the new iPad and it looks like there will be more challenges to come as nearly 60% of mobile carriers worldwide expect to launch LTE service over the next 18 months.
To date, the new iPad only works with LTE systems in North America, a fact that has forced Apple to change the name of LTE iPads. While a new study confirms that LTE will become a global standard for high-speed mobile broadband, it also notes that various regions and countries are focusing on deploying LTE with varying bands of radio spectrum. That could mean devices will need to be designed for specific markets and that international data roaming using LTE will be problematic and potentially impossible.
How important are iPads and other tablets to mobile carriers worldwide compared to mobile broadband devices? According to a new study, they’re becoming a critical part of the mobile business. That’s pretty impressive when you consider that before the iPad’s launch two years ago, tablets were a rarity in mobile carrier stores. Today, thanks largely to the iPad, tablets make up 40% of mobile broadband offerings.
NetZero made a name for itself in the late nineties by offering free ad-supported dialup Internet access before turning to a low-cost model (still available for dialup and and basic DSL). NetZero is returning to its free/freemium roots with today’s announcement of a contract-free 4G service. The service offers several tiers of data use with the first one being free beyond purchasing a 4G device.
While intriguing, the free service tier definitely illustrates the “you get what you pay for” addage. Some of the other tiers are attractive, but there are some downsides and, quite frankly, a Verizon 4G iPad may be a much smarter investment in the long run.
Will the new iPad gobble up so much bandwidth that it will cause serious network congestion and performance issues for small businesses or even major enterprises? Are businesses networks up to meet ever increasing demands of wireless devices and mobile professionals?
These are questions that networking vendor Brocade put to its customers recently, specifically highlighting the launch of the new iPad. It found that half of all businesses think that the new iPad to could add to the number of wireless devices on their networks and possibly increase the overall amount of traffic.